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click opera
February 2010
Wed, Apr. 8th, 2009 02:19 am

Now here's a funny thing. Ed Templeton, the Californian skateboarder and artist, was recently in Berlin with his wife Deanna. He happened to drop by the opening for Nippon Edit at Motto Berlin -- an exhibition of Japanese publications from Utrecht, Foil, Cosmic Wonder, Art Beat -- and ran a photo on his blog. In Ed's photo you can clearly see an eyepatched pirate engaging surreptitiously in the activity known as "digital shoplifting", branded by the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association as "information theft". Instead of buying the materials on display, this brigand is videoing all the names he can find, in order to google it all when he gets home.

"I can base at least 38 Click Opera posts on this material," I joked to my friend Jan, who -- like Ed -- caught me fur-hatted and red-handed in my deed (as, indeed, did Motto staff; I'm the figure in blue snapped by Akiko, the exhibition organiser). But instead of 38 posts, I thought I'd just give you my source material all at one go and let you google it yourself. I've set my shoplifted video footage of Motto's gorgeous Japanese publications to the song The Cooper o' Fife from the Joemus album:

To get you started, here are some googles this material led me to. Comic book artist Erika Kobayashi has a "starblog" at Ecocolo magazine. She's recently been in Berlin. There are some nice new Yurie Nagashima photos at Krash Japan, in their special photography issue.

Akinori Oishi (author of the comic My Life With Rice) exhibited at the recent Pictopia character designfest in Berlin. It's well worth checking his tiny Microfilms or playing his charming Opniyama game, originally developed for the 2002 opening of the Palais de Tokyo.

Digital shoplifting is the post-materialist way to shop; you just browse, take notes, then go home and google. You might say "Sure, Nick, but if everyone did that instead of buying stuff, these publications wouldn't exist in the first place." That may be so, but the nice thing about, say, Nieves Books is how cheap they are to produce. They're folded, stapled A4 booklets. The Nieves Books Flickr photostream reveals that the Zurich zineshop recently had a show featuring Utrecht Books (who now boast a reading room in Aoyama as well as their apartment shop in Nakameguro).

Here, from Utrecht's YouTube page, is a demonstration of the flipbook by Masashi Kawamura, Rainbow in your Hand:

The sad fact is that if I hadn't digitally-shoplifted all this material via video, I would probably have written everything down on my iPod Touch and still gone home and googled it. Incorrigibly-digital piratekind is truly irredeemable, n'est ce pas?


Wed, Apr. 8th, 2009 09:05 am (UTC)

Hmm. Makes me feel like a caveman, as me I brandish the pen and paper in such situations, both by choice and by the -sad?- fact I have neither an iPod Touch and rarely (if ever) credit on my phone. this leads me to a tech question- why don't vimeos play on my computer? -they seem to load, like youtube stuff, but then don't play when I click 'play.'

Anyway, we came to Motto late, and my girlfriend was stopped (in friendly fashion I should add) while bagging a publication that said 'Free' on it in big letters where you'd assume the price was (and it wasn't it's name). She wasn't the first, apparently. I'm assuming from your post that you stand only accused of the digital form of thieving, and in full awareness?

A few years ago a friend of mine got kicked out of an art book store in Hamburg for filming book contents with a video camera. He continued running it as he exchanged verbal broadsides with the shopkeeper, who pulled some 'wacky' moves for the camera when he couldn't answer my certain of my friend's protests, sort of hammer horror style. Odd.

Wed, Apr. 8th, 2009 09:26 am (UTC)

I'm assuming from your post that you stand only accused of the digital form of thieving, and in full awareness?

Oh, I wasn't accused or aprehended in any way. I'm really just using the "shoplifting" trope as a comic device. Motto is odd in that it's at the exact juncture between a bookshop and an art gallery. Since you can always photograph or video at art openings, there seemed to be good precedent for photographing their stock that evening, and I'm sure they're happy that Ed Templeton and I are raising their visibility.

It's a great place, Berlin's answer to Printed Matter (as Whimsy cottoned). Their gallery blog and distribution company blog are both well worth adding to your blogroll, as an ever-changing window on the most interesting and esoteric art and design publications.

Edited at 2009-04-08 09:28 am (UTC)

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Wed, Apr. 8th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)

Totally agree about Motto, and likewise I meant everything in good spirit. It is great Berlin has a place like that, also that it's in Kreuzberg, and also now that say Pro QM seems to stock less small publisher type stuff.

A magazine/anthology I have some work in is having their launch do there, tho' isn't until the end of May. It's called Peeping Tom (http://www.peepingtomgalerie.com/mag-1.html), from Capricious Publishing, and focuses on artists living/working in Berlin, or having some connection to the city. Please come along (and do some more digi-theft)!

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